The population in the developed world is aging rapidly. Here's an excerpt from an The State of Aging and Health in America 2013:
The current growth in the number and proportion of older adults in the United States is unprecedented
in our nation’s history. By 2050, it is anticipated that Americans aged 65 or older will number nearly 89
million people, or more than double the number of older adults in the United States in 2010.
The rapid aging of the U.S. population is being driven by two realities: Americans are living longer
lives than in previous decades and, given the post-World War II baby boom, there are proportionately
more older adults than in previous generations. Many Americans are now living into their 70s, 80s, and
beyond. The leading edge of the baby boomers reached age 65 in 2011, launching an unparalleled
phenomenon in the United States. Since January 1, 2011, and each and every day for the next 20 years,
roughly 10,000 Americans will celebrate their 65th birthdays. In 2030, when the last baby boomer
turns 65, the demographic landscape of our nation will have changed significantly. One of every five
Americans—about 72 million people—will be an older adult.
These figures are pretty comparable to the rest of the developed world. Countries like China (one child policy) and Japan (population is actually decreasing because of aging + less children being born) are doing even worse.
Now, although the richer countries in the world may be decently equipped to handle the strains of an aging population, other countries are not. Here in New Zealand for example, no amount of government subsides or medical students will fix the problem. If we just throw more money in health, it's simply going to cripple the other facets of society. Think about it, if there's twice as many people over the age of 65, all things being equal there will be twice as many pensioners, twice as many people reliant on the government and their families, and less tax payers to support the system. The cost is simply too high. If we just train more doctors, there's still no guarantee that this will help the problem. This is an international issue, and there are plenty of other countries who are willing to pay a higher salary, with better benefits.
The average age of GP's here is around 50. GP's are the cornerstone of our health system. You can't even see a specialist without the referral of a GP here. It is impossible to get a same-day-appointment now, and the situation is only getting worse.
Great technological advances may eventually fix our problems, but what do we do about it in the mean time? Is there a way to get the public more interested in researching about health and taking more preventative measures? Is there a better way to promote exercise and good dieting? Tell me any ideas/thoughts you have.